Defense Not Happy With Third Scrimmage

Auburn coach Tommy Thigpen and linebacker Jessel Curry talk about the third preseason scrimmage for the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--On a night when the Auburn offense rolled time and time again with big plays and touchdowns, the Tigers' defense was looking for answers that never came. Giving up several big plays in the passing game with three touchdowns alone from quarterback Cameron Newton, coach Tommy Thigpen said the secondary didn't play very well nor did the defense as a whole.

"Too many big plays," Thigpen said. "It was big play after big play after big play. That's the part that is disturbing. If they're going down the field five yards a pop you make them earn it. When they get it in chunks of 25, 30 and 45 we've got to tweak some things. We've got to find out what the problems were. They had some new plays we hadn't seen but that shouldn't stop us from being able to adjust and adapt."

Part of the adjusting and adapting is made tougher without senior Zac Etheridge on the field. Thigpen said fellow senior Aairon Savage played well and has done a good job this preseason. Unfortunately Etheridge hasn't to this point seen any action in the scrimmages. While it may seem like there are still some questions lingering for the Troy native, Thigpen said he doesn't need to see number four in a scrimmage setting to know he's ready to play this fall.

"He's been throwing his body in there during practice," Thigpen said. "I saw him take on a 300-pound guard on Monday and he didn't have any reservations about hitting him. I don't have any reservations. He's full tilt. The scrimmages I'm not worried about. He's like a golfer, he plays the game in his head quite a bit."

Tough Night For Defense But Young Defender Getting Better

The struggles on defense weren't just in the deep secondary as it was on the entire defense. Freshman linebacker Jessel Curry is one of the players looking to take a step forward and earn some playing time. He said for him it was a matter of the defense not recovering after allowing big plays.

"The whole defense didn't respond to adversity very well," Curry said. "The offense had a lot of deep shots they took and they made a lot of plays. We all tried to find a way to get through the adversity and we just couldn't pull it together tonight. We made too many mistakes. That's just the game of football. You can't make mistakes."

Mistakes are just a rite of passage for a freshman football player even if he's already been on campus for eight months. That is the case for Curry as he was able to go through spring practice after graduating high school early. That combined with a summer on campus working out with the team has put him in a much better position on the field he said.

"I think I'm light years from where I was coming out of high school," Curry said. "Everything from my stance to my eyes and everything in between has completely changed. It has really helped me. I'm definitely seeing some changes in my game."

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